I can’t believe tomorrow will be July. The fourth of July has always been one of my favorite holidays because you usually celebrate outdoors on a beautiful, sunny day with picnic food galore. My typical pattern is eating too much watermelon so that I hardly have room for real food for the rest of the day. This is a pattern I am determined to break this year. Maybe I will eat my watermelon out of a measuring cup, so I don’t accidentally eat half my body weight’s worth of my favorite summer treat.
Last year we started going all out with fourth of July decorations for the kids. Sunglasses, hats, noise makers, flags, pretty much everything my sister could find from the holiday section of the dollar store. It was a great decision. The kids (which is a group of 11 cousins) put on a parade for our family. It was the best fourth of July parade I’ve seen. (possibly the only one as well). I’m hoping for similar festivities this year.
It can be difficult to make healthy choices at a picnic. Now, I’m all for taking a “day off” and certainly don’t think it is worth any stress or guilt overthinking what you should or shouldn’t eat that day. Don’t spoil your afternoon feeling bad that you had jello salad for brunch. My situation is that I feel really sick if I go too “overboard” with unhealthy eating. My body isn’t used to it, and I don’t like to ruin my afternoon because I have such a terrible stomachache or I’m wanting to take a nap because I haven’t eaten any good food. Here are a few tips to help with that:
Tip #1: Never fill your plate. If your family holidays are anything like mine, there is always food and a lot of it. I like eating all the fruit and trying different food people bring, which means I rarely need a big meal. I’ll definitely eat a real meal of good food, but I’ll take small portions of what is offered and (try to) stop eating before I am full. Because chances are, there will be dessert and snacks and your aunt’s special fourth of July pie. If you can avoid feeling overly full, you’ll feel much better for the day.
Tip #2: Plan to eat your favorite treats in moderation. Like I said before, don’t stress yourself out over whether or not you should have ice cream. Decide one way or the other and be done. It’s one day. You’ll be fine either way.
Tip #3: Don’t snack on sweets. Yes, you can decide to have cake for dessert. But don’t munch on chocolate chip cookies or take a bite of chocolate cake every time you walk by. First of all, your brain will forget that it wants food other than sweets. You’ll wonder why you aren’t in the mood for a hamburger, and it’s probably because your brain is getting used to a spoonful of sugar every hour on the hour. Snack on veggies or half a watermelon if you’re like me.
Tip #4: Choose your gluten wisely. Most likely, you don’t feel awesome when you overindulge in gluten. Pay attention to how often and in what quantity you eat gluten. For example, I’ll usually skip bread with lunch but maybe have a cookie for dessert. It helps my gut out a lot to limit my gluten intake, even when I’m indulging in other ways.
Tip #5: Don’t let food control your day. Holidays have a lot more to them than the buffet table. Remember to walk away and play football, jump in the lake or pool, go for a walk. Make your choices about food, be okay with them, and go have fun!
Here’s a picnic recipe for you. I’ve always loved broccoli salad, so I made a healthier version. Making your own mayo is very easy. I recommend the Whole30 recipe. You can also buy healthier mayos at your local health food store.
10 min, serves 6
6 c chopped broccoli
1/3 c diced red onion
1/2 c almonds, chopped
1/4 c pumpkin seeds (or sunflower seeds)
1/2 c raisins (or craisins) *use apple juice sweetened craisins to make sugar free)
1/2 c homemade mayo (my favorite here)
1 T red wine vinegar
1/4 t salt
1 1/2 T maple syrup
Coarse sea salt, if desired
- Place chopped broccoli, red onion, chopped almonds, seeds, and raisins in a large bowl. Stir everything together.
- In a separate small bowl, combine the mayo, red wine vinegar, salt, and maple syrup and whisk together.
- Pour the mayo mixture over the broccoli mixture and stir until everything is well coated.
- Sprinkle with additional coarse sea salt, if desired